Benjamin & Marilyn Williams

Benjamin Buford Williams, II, Ph.D. and Col. USAFR (ret.) and Marilyn Simpson Williams, his wife of 60 years, died within a few hours of one another on October 19 and 20, 2013. He was 90 years old, having been born on April 28, 1923. Dr. Williams was a retired Professor of English at AUM while Mrs. Williams was a retired reference librarian. He is preceded in death by his siblings: Royal Haywood Williams, Shirley Williams Wigglesworth, Edith Williams Hancock, and Stanley Ballou Wigglesworth. Raised in Mobile, Ben graduated from Murphy High School in 1942. A World War II veteran, he fought at the Huertgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and was in one of the first units to cross the Remagen Bridge into Germany. Following the war, he received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Williams taught English literature for over 40 years, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1991. His book, A Literary History of Nineteenth Century Alabama, is considered the seminal work on early Alabama literature. In 2004, he was presented with the Eugene Current Garcia Award as an outstanding literary scholar. Mrs. Williams, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, was born on February 14, 1928. Graduating from Hillsboro High School in 1946, Marilyn attended Mary Baldwin College and George Peabody Graduate School of Library Science. She retired from a distinguished career of 33 years as the chief reference librarian at the Air University Library at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1986. Ben was past president of the Montgomery Shakespeare Players, the Richard Montgomery Chapter of the S.A.R., and the Alabama Reserve Officers Association. He was a long-time member of the A.F.A., the M.O.A.A., the V.F.W., the American Legion, the Alabama Historical Association, and the Montgomery Quarterback Club. He was a lifetime member of the 78th Division Association. Marilyn was a long-time member of the Alabama Library Association, the Montgomery B.P.W., and the Frances Marion Chapter of the D.A.R. She was past president of the Episcopal Church Women and served as head of the Altar Guild at her church for nearly 40 years. Both Ben and Marilyn were members of the St. Andrews Society and the Old South Society for over 30 years. They are survived by their four children, Julianne (Winfield Sinclair), Buford, Randall (Nancy), and Lyn (Rodney Best). They are survived by their eight grandchildren: Ashley (Christopher Barnes), Amanda (John Jinright), Sarah Best, Andrew Williams, Katharine Williams, Nathaniel Williams, Victoria Williams, and Zachary Williams, and one step-grandchild, Jason McEwan. Visitation will be Wednesday night at Leak Memory Funeral Home from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral Services will be Thursday, October 24th at 10 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 645 Coliseum Boulevard. Interment and graveside services will follow for family only. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to All Saints Episcopal Church Memorial Fund.


  • Funeral Service Thursday, October 24, 2013

Benjamin & Marilyn Williams

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Julie Sinclair

October 21, 2014

It has been a year and still I cannot completely grasp the concept you are really gone from our lives. I know you are together where there is no pain but eternal peace. I miss you more than words can say.

Susan McVay

October 23, 2013

May God bless you and your faimly at this time of sorrow.

Susan McVay

October 23, 2013

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Bob Evans

October 23, 2013

Ben and Marilyn were two of the kindest, gentlest, sweetest people I have ever known. Ben was a true "gentle man." He spoke softly, thoughtfully, and with obvious but understated enthusiasm. He had a splendid smile and chuckle. I could listen to his stories at length (and often did). He had lived an amazingly heroic life, but he was always humble, never boastful. He had so many keen interests that it was hard (for me, not for him) to keep up with them all. Truly, he is one of the best human beings I have ever known. Marilyn was Ben's beloved partner and sidekick. She was obviously beloved both by Ben and by anyone who knew her. Her eyes sparkled with vitality, wit, and great good humor. I loved to tease her, and she gave it right back to me, and then some. What a beautiful woman in every way, and what a splendid, memorable, loving couple. Ruth and I feel very lucky to have known them. - Bob and Ruth Evans

Carol Michot

October 23, 2013

Deepest sympathies from the Michot family. Ben was a kind man and shall be missed by many.

Barbara Powers

October 22, 2013

William and I send our deepest sympathy to your family. Your father/grandfather was a great man. I so very clearly remember him sharing stories of his service to our country during World War II. His honor and his patriotism still burn bright in my memory. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. May he rest in peace.